Saturday, July 18, 2009

In Need of Some Muffin Lovin'

This post is a bit late, as I actually baked these strawberry muffins on Thursday night, but was sidetracked by a little security issue. Sorry too for the blurry (even more than usual!) photos. My boyfriend's Powershot (that naughty camera =p) went for a quick dip in the creek last week. So come Thursday night, I had to dust off my old Olympus D-590, which simply refused to take a decent close-up at night. There is a bright spot though (pun intended?): I bought a new camera! I'm gonna wait until it arrives to have some play time before posting more about it, but boy, am I excited!!

So how 'bout dem muffins? Well, I might be cursed when it comes to this style of baked good. My previous efforts can be summarized as gummy, dense, and not sweet enough. Despite all that, I just couldn't resist these beautifully domed blueberry muffins when I saw them on Cassie's blog, How to Eat a Cupcake. I still had some of my previous problems, but thankfully to a much smaller degree, perhaps due to creaming the butter and sugar instead of using the muffin method. Ironically, Cassie actually noted that these aren't very sweet, so I should've known to up the sugar to suit my personal tastes. I also used frozen strawberries and a cake flour substitute when I made these. These were a step in the right direction, but unlike Cassie, I haven't found my go-to recipe yet. I'd like to give the muffin method another try and have my eye on these fun lemon curd muffins.

Light Blueberry (or Strawberry) Muffins

Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book through How to Eat a Cupcake
Makes 12 muffins *I only filled the cups about 3/4 full and got 18

*My changes in italics

Vegetable oil spray
2 cups (10 oz) plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup (4 oz) cake flour *I used 1 cup AP flour - 2 Tablespoons AP flour + 2 Tablespoons corn starch because I had no cake flour
1 cup (7 oz) sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling *I left this out and regretted it
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened *I used Earth Balance margarine
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt (Use low-fat yogurt here; nonfat yogurt will make dry, tasteless muffins)
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (ATK prefers frozen wild blueberries) *I used frozen strawberries

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil spray *I just used paper liners.

2. Whisk 2 cups of the all-purpose flour, cake flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, beat 3/4 cup more sugar and butter together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla until incorporated, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.

3. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Beat in one-third of the flour mixture and half of the yogurt. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture and the remaining yogurt. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated. Do not overmix.

4. Toss the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of all-purpose flour, then gently fold them into the batter with a rubber spatula. Using a 1/3-cup measuring cup sprayed with vegetable oil spray, portion the batter into each muffin cup, then portion any remaining batter evenly among the cups using a small spoon *My cups were about 3/4 full. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

5. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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